Home Phone Service: Is VoIP right for you?
Wall Street Journal: “Magic Jack: Cheap, Way Overhyped, But Really Works“
Are you considering using an IP phone company such as magicJack for your home phone service? You should first ask whether your internet connection is adequate for Voice over Internet Protocol (or VoIP).
Conventional home phone service provides peace of mind – many consumers grew up with Ma Bell, and others rely heavily on their mobile phone service. If your Internet connection is fast enough to support IP phone service, you can enjoy new features and save hundreds of dollars each year. Those who elect to give VoIP a try should consider keeping their land line while ironing out any wrinkles as they explore the new service.
VoIP is not for anyone who has dial up service or who is using a satellite dish for an internet connection. Dial up service isn’t fast enough to carry ‘real time’ audio, and there’s nothing quite so disheartening as trying to call home – only to hear static.
Satellite internet services are not good candidates for VoIP either, as your signal has to travel to a satellite – which is 22,000 miles above the earth – then bounce back to your dish. The signal travels fast, but the distance is so great there are significant lags in the conversation. If that wasn’t bad enough, satellite services are only speedy in one direction – from the provider’s dish to yours. Any signal sent back to the provider is much slower, and your conversation would end in static, just as if you had dial up service.
If you have DSL or cable internet service though, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to use a VoIP as a cheap phone service – but you should do a little more checking before dropping your check in the mail. Visualware has provided a handy VoIP test; begin by clicking on a map to show your location, and next click on one of the pin icons to select a specific testing location. The third screen is shown below, and is designed to test your connection speed. The test we’re after is more extensive – so click on the VoIP link shown in the third screen ( as shown below).
Ignore the speed test shown on the initial screen; select the VoIP test instead.
After clicking on the VoIP link shown on the right side of the speed test shown above, you’ll be taken to a test which is specifically designed for VoIP connections. Click on the button to start the test (as shown below), and the VoIP simulation will begin, leading to a final screen which summarizes the test results.
Click on the start button to begin the VoIP test
If your internet connection has passed the tests above, Congratulations! Chances are good that you will be able to use your Internet connection as an inexpensive home phone service, saving hundreds of dollars every year. Your VoIP enabled phone will provide you with a number of benefits, and still more benefits may be possible using software plugins for your service.
The various VoIP services provide a variety of benefits, as indicated in the pages linked in the Navigation section near the top of the right sidebar.